Infertility clinics are biased against patients with HIV

November 29, 2001

Infertility clinics are biased against patients infected with HIV, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

All 75 clinics providing assisted conception in Britain were surveyed regarding their policy on treating patients infected with HIV. Of 57 responses, 41 units (72%) had a policy on treating patients infected with HIV, although most (61%) of these had not seen a patient infected with HIV in the previous year.

Units that had seen patients infected with HIV in the past year were more likely than units that had not to investigate or to offer treatment when the man was infected with HIV. The same trend was not seen when the woman or both partners were infected with HIV.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 requires the welfare of the child to be taken into account before treatment starts, but it does not exclude any category of woman from being considered for infertility treatment. A blanket refusal to provide infertility investigations and treatment to couples infected with HIV may lead to an increase of uninfected partners becoming HIV positive while trying to conceive naturally.

Not all patients infected with HIV will be suitable for infertility treatment, but whether couples are offered assisted conception in Britain is a lottery, as there are no established guidelines, say the authors. Centres offering assisted conception should have a less restrictive attitude towards patients infected with HIV, they conclude.
-end-
Access to infertility investigations and treatment in couples infected with HIV: questionnaire study BMJ Volume 323, p 1285

BMJ

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